Thursday, June 18, 2009

$100M Doubletree Hotel Opens in Chicago’s Loop District

CHICAGO, IL—The Chicago skyline and the rejuvenated Loop District has a new permanent guest today – a $100 million, 27-story, 238 room luxury hotel called theWit—A Doubletree Hotel. (center photo)

Scott Greenberg’s ECD Co. Inc. of nearby Lincolnshire, IL developed the Lake and State Streets project which boasts 7,000 square feet of meeting facilities, a 2,523-square-foot dividable ballroom and conference rooms and a $1 million digital high-definition multimedia theater.

Greenberg also came up with the whimsical name of theWit for the property.

“We are extremely proud to introduce theWit as part of the rebirth of Chicago’s State Street during an incredible moment in the city’s history,” says Greenberg.

“The nearby Block 37 mixed-use development is nearing completion, and the neighborhood recently celebrated the opening of The Joffrey Ballet’s new Tower.

“New retail stores, residential towers, theatres and attractions abound nearby. Our iconic lightning bolt on the front of our hotel symbolizes how we’ve harnessed the energy and excitement of some of the best architects and designers in the country to create an incredible gathering place for leisure and business travelers in one of the most dynamic cities in the world.”

Just two blocks from Michigan Avenue and Millennium Park, hotel guests are a short walk away from the Ford Center, Chicago Theatre, Oriental Theatre, the Art Institute, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Civic Opera House and dozens of other legendary Chicago cultural and entertainment venues.

The hotel’s structure was designed by Chicago architect Jackie Koo, with interiors by designer Cheryl Rowley.


Wagstaff Worldwide, Inc., Jim Lee / Chip Bouchard, 312-943-6900, / chip@wagstaffworldwide.comor

Doubletree Hotels, Media Relations, Thomas Wingham, 310-205-4545,

Moses Salcido Joins Southern Commercial in Orlando

ORLANDO, FL – Moses L. Salcido, SIOR (top right photo) a Central Florida commercial real estate professional for 22 years, has joined Southern Commercial Real Estate Advisors LLC as a principal.

He will team with founding principals William "Bo" Bradord Jr., CCIM, SIOR (top left photo) and Tom McFadden SIOR, (middle right photo)

Salcido formerly served as Senior Development Manager for Panattoni Development Company’s Central and North Florida regions.

Previously, he handled Progress Energy’s commercial real estate activities including facility management, disposition, acquisition and development.

During his career, he has developed and acquired over 3.2 million square feet of corporate real estate space.

A former recipient of NAIOP Central Florida’s Industrial Broker of the Year Award, Salcido also served as 2007 President of NAIOP Central Florida. Additionally, he has served on numerous boards of directors including CoreNet, Florida Real Estate Forum Advisory Board, and NAIOP Florida.

In a joint statement, Bradford and McFadden said “Moses Salcido brings a seasoned corporate owner’s perspective combined with a sterling record of performance in landlord/tenant representation."

Southern Commercial has completed over 103 industrial and office transactions totaling 2.8 million square feet and valued at more than $107 million since its founding in August 2007.

The locally-owned firm represents 6.9 million square feet of existing product with another 1.4 million square feet proposed.

The firm’s in-house Research Department produces an in-depth quarterly “Industrial Orlando Market Report” publication which is circulated throughout Central Florida and is available upon request.

Southern Commercial Real Estate Advisors is located at 20 N. Orange Avenue, Suite 605, Orlando, FL 32801, phone 321-281-8500. For more information, visit

Contact: Kenneth H. Cristol, 407-774-2515

Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Debt Outstanding Remains Unchanged During First Quarter 2009

WASHINGTON, DC (June 18, 2009) - The level of commercial/multifamily mortgage debt outstanding remained relatively unchanged in the first quarter, at $3.48 trillion, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) analysis of the Federal Reserve Board Flow of Funds data.

The $3.48 trillion in commercial/multifamily mortgage debt outstanding recorded by the Federal Reserve was a decrease of $33 million from the fourth quarter 2008. Multifamily mortgage debt outstanding grew to $908 billion, an increase of $5 billion or 0.6 percent from fourth quarter.

"Banks, thrifts Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac all increased their holdings of commercial and multifamily mortgages during the first quarter, while run-off among CMBS and life company loans decreased those investors' holdings," said Jamie Woodwell, (top right photo) MBA's Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Research. "The relatively long-term nature of commercial real estate finance has meant greater stability in the levels of commercial and multifamily mortgage debt outstanding than is seen among many other types of credit."

The Federal Reserve Flow of Funds data summarizes the holding of loans or, if the loans are securitized, the form of the security. For example, many life insurance companies invest both in whole loans for which they hold the mortgage note (included under Life Insurance Companies in this data) and in CMBS, collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and other asset backed securities (ABS) for which the security issuers and trustees hold the note.

For a complete copy of MBA's news release, please contact:
Carolyn Kemp, (202) 557-2727,
John Mechem (202) 557-2924,

Federal Court Consolidates Chinese Drywall Cases; Pre Trial Conference Set for July 9

MIAMI, FL, June 18, 2009--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On May 27, 2009, the Multi District Litigation (MDL) Panel heard argument for consolidating thousands of Chinese Drywall lawsuits throughout the United States.

In an order that was entered on June 15, 2009, the MDL selected the Eastern District of Louisiana Federal United States District Court. The MDL Panel selected experienced trial Judge Eldon E. Fallon (middle left photo) to oversee the cases.

A pre trial conference has been set for July 9, 2009 at 2:00 pm at Judge Fallon’s courtroom, Room C-468, United States Courthouse, 500 Poydras Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.
100,000 cases from across the nation are expected to be consolidated for pretrial matters and discovery in the dry wall litigation that has impacted homeowners throughout the country.
Florida is expected to have 35,000 cases filed within the next year regarding this problem.

“This is the largest construction defect case in the history of the United States and consumers need help now,” said Ervin A. Gonzalez, (top right photo) one of Florida’s leading lawyers that have been representing hundreds of homeowners with dry wall problems.

“By consolidating the cases, the Court will allow for the more efficient and effective handling of these claims. Ultimately it should reduce the expense involved in litigating the cases and should promote global resolutions of these claims.”

The Court will likely select an Executive committee for the Plaintiffs and Defendants to run the litigation on behalf of all interested parties and soon after require a joint case management plan to be submitted that outlines the parties’ pleading and practice schedule as well as the proposed discovery schedule.

Given that many of the Defendants are from foreign countries like China and Germany and were served under The Hague Convention requirements, the Court may attempt to simplify and streamline the service and notice requirements on the foreign corporate parties in order to keep the cost of litigation down and to speed up the process.

As early as 2007 many homeowners who moved into their newly constructed homes began to notice strong “rotten egg” odors in their homes.

They also noticed that many of their new appliances were failing, wiring was corroding, air-conditioning coils needed replacing and they began to experience headaches, sore throats, nose bleeds and upper respiratory problems.

According to the Chinese Drywall lawsuit, the culprit is alleged to be defective drywall that emits various sulfide gases and/or other chemicals through “off-gassing” that creates noxious, “rotten egg-like” odors, and causes corrosion of metals including those in air-conditioners, refrigerator coils, microwaves, faucets, utensils, copper tubing, electrical wiring, computer wiring, personal property, electronic appliances, and other metal surfaces and household items.

The only solution is to “gut” the homes and remove the toxic drywall down to the studs.
Gonzalez says, “Most homeowners are unable to move out because they cannot afford to pay their mortgages and the rent on another apartment or home. This is a serious matter that requires immediate attention. We will ask the Court to take prompt action in order to make the responsible parties accountable for the harm that they have caused hundreds of thousands to suffer.”

Gonzalez currently represents homeowners in individual and class action litigation in state and federal court.
The homeowners are seeking compensatory damages for the direct and consequential damages caused by the defective drywall that include the cost of repair and replacement of the homeowner’s houses and personal property as well as relocation costs and other related economic expenses.

The lawsuit is also seeking damages for medical monitoring to provide medical screening.

Ervin A. Gonzalez is available for comments and interviews regarding the case and can be reached at 305-476-7491 or 305-298-1888.

JBG Communications, Janice B. Gonzalez, 305-667-9960 Office, 305-898-1895 Mobile